The Waldo Canyon fire outside Colorado Springs isn’t the only one burning but it’s the worst. Five percent contained, 15,000 acres already gone, and more than 32,000 people evacuated — including our beloved boss emeritus, whose Twitter feed is now almost wholly devoted to chronicling CS’s waking nightmare. She’s your best bet for photos of what they’re up against. It’s actually not the birdseye pics of the forest on fire that really brought it home to me, it’s this one. Good lord. According to Jay Carney, more than half of the feds’ wildfire-fighting resources are currently stationed in Colorado — and yet, from what I understand, because they’re expecting high winds and possible lightning strikes, this may yet get worse before it gets better. Again, good lord.
As of January, Colorado was among the top five states with the highest net migration. I wonder where they’ll be after this.
Mr. Obama called Gov. John Hickenlooper and Mayor Steve Bach of Colorado Springs, the state’s second-largest city, to get an update on the blaze, known as the Waldo Canyon Fire. “The president expressed his concern about the extent of damage to homes in the Colorado Springs area,” the White House said, “and informed both the governor and the mayor that he plans to travel to the area Friday to view the damage and thank the responders bravely battling the fire.”
The president also asked if state and local officials needed more federal resources to fight the fires. The United States Forest Service, the Interior Department and the Federal Emergency Management Agency are involved in the effort. Seventeen air tankers have been deployed in the Western states over the last 48 hours. Local officials are also battling fires in Arizona, California, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.
Colorado has been a frequent destination for Mr. Obama this year because of its status as a hotly contested swing state, though the president often visits the sites of natural disasters throughout the country.
Obama’s flying in on Friday for a goodwill visit, which would be smart politics under any circumstances now that this is a national story but seems especially shrewd as a subject-changer the day after the ObamaCare ruling and Holder contempt vote. Don’t bother the man with petty questions about mandates: He’s got a fire to fight.
Two vids for you of a slow-motion catastrophe in progress. If you live there, watching these homes burn must feel a little like watching friends die. And yet, one of the memes du jour on Twitter is hoping that the fire spreads just far enough to consume Focus on the Family headquarters in the city. Wonderful. Exit question: If you lived in Colorado Springs and could afford to move, would you? There’ll be more wildfires in the future, hopefully not as bad as this but with no guarantees, of course. I’d imagine that the trauma of living through it would make you want to ensure that it never happened to you again.